College commencement to bring 5,000 visitors to town

MIDDLEBURY — More than 5,000 family and friends of the Middlebury College class of 2013 are expected this weekend for commencement. Almost 600 students will get their diplomas in a ceremony on the central lawn of the college that will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Jonathan Safran Foer, a writer and author of critical and commercial acclaim, will deliver the 2013 Middlebury College commencement address. Foer’s first novel, “Everything Is Illuminated,” was published in 2002 when he was 25. An international bestseller, the book is now in its 32nd printing and was adapted into a major motion picture. The author’s second novel, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” (2005), also became an international bestseller, as well as the inspiration for an Academy Award-nominated motion picture.
Foer is a particularly appropriate speaker for this year’s graduating class at Middlebury. “Everything Is Illuminated” was the summer reading assignment before the class of 2013 arrived as first-year students in 2009, and was a topic of discussion during their orientation. The seniors nominated Foer to be this year’s speaker.
Foer will receive a doctor of letters degree at the commencement ceremony. Four other distinguished men and women also will receive honorary degrees:
•  Edward Burtynsky, an internationally celebrated artist and photographer. His remarkable depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of more than 50 museums.
•  Megan Camp, vice president and program director at Shelburne Farms. She has focused on building public-private partnerships to conduct research, influence policy, and build networks to strengthen sustainability-education efforts in Vermont and around the world.
•  Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, a nonprofit global venture fund that invests in projects that solve the problems of poverty. Under Novogratz’s leadership, Acumen Fund has approved more than $80 million in investments in 73 companies in South Asia and Africa, all focused on delivering affordable health care, water, housing and energy to the poor.
•  Stuart Schwartz, a 1962 graduate of Middlebury College and a professor of History at Yale. He is considered one of the world’s leading experts on Brazilian history.
Commencement will be held outdoors regardless of the weather on the main quadrangle behind Voter Hall on College Street.

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